Out of Towners

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"...successful Web pages are usually a delicate balance, and it's important to keep in mind that even a minor change can have a major impact. Sometimes the real challenge isn't fixing the problems you find - it's fixing them without breaking the parts that already work" (Krug 158).

When we ask people to test our websites, we should be aware that some problems that might find and have with the site may be harder to fix than we think. Let's say person X says that the page on subject Y doesn't make sense it is harder to navigate through and read. Well Y maybe connected to Z and to change Y would mean that we would have to redesign both pages.

"Whenever you're making changes, think carefully about what else is going to be affected. In particular, when you're making something more prominent than it was, consider what else might end up being de-emphasized as a result" (Krug 158).

When we decide to make changes in our papers, our IF games, our blog entries, our life, we consider what else may be affected as well. We must do this with our websites and especially with our writing for the web.

In order to have a great site, we have to test. Krug explains that usability testing is like have friends visiting from out of town. You make the tourist rounds with them, you see things about your home town that you usually don't notice because you're so used to them. You realizee that a lot of things that you take for granted aren't obvious to everybody.

No matter how many people you test, if they are the targeted audience or not, this user will always point out things you can do to improve your site because as the designer, you will oversee a link, a color, a font, a picture, etc that should either have more emphasis or be removed.




Jed Fetterman said:

I can think of a lot of people who would be resistant to change, no matter what the change was like. Even I do that with websites that I go on frequently. One day, I'll log on and the appearance will be subtly different. I'll scream obscentities at the monitor about how the designers changed the website. Not really. But what I mean is that it does not have the comfy feel that I was used to clicking on. Maybe there is a new link that I have to understand, or it is the same links, just in different places. Sites like Google and Amazon have not changed their appearance since I can remember (except for the subtle art on Google's logo), and I think that a lot of their staying power can be attributed to that.

Christina Celona said:

Jed-- think about facebook. Oh wait, you don't have one. Well, a little while ago, they changed their layout, and lots of people threw hissy fits. Even though the change was for the better, the only thing the users saw was a change that they didn't understand yet. But as far as I know, they didn't really lose any users.

Kevin Hinton said:

We have one of the most benefical postions of a web designers. Since we are not in the professional world, we could use the forces of education to help us with that. We are learning not only to usabilty test, but to work on the processes that allows use to usability test.

Maddie Gillespie said:

Dena, I think that both you and Jed make excellent points within your blog. Change comes along everyday and even if we don't like it, it'll catch up with us eventually. Some change is good. Some is bad. That's the way of life, unfortunately. It's always hard to change related items when a part of them don't work. Maybe that's simply a reflection of our tip-toing around others and through life? I don't know, but I do know that you both made me think (and I like that!).

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This page contains a single entry by West Coast Envy published on October 30, 2008 9:28 PM.

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